Negotiating sexual identity: Experiences of two gay and lesbian preservice music teachers

Stephen A. Paparo, Bridget Sweet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Few studies in the field of teacher education have examined the experiences of gay and lesbian preservice teachers. Donahue (2007) suggests that gay and lesbian preservice teachers struggle with how to negotiate their sexual identity as developing teachers. This intrinsic case study explored how two preservice music teachers hid or disclosed their gay or lesbian identity during their studentteaching placements. The participants were enrolled in two different universities in midwestern states. Brett, who identified as gay, taught with a straight female cooperating teacher in a small, rural community; Nicole, who identified as lesbian, taught with two lesbian cooperating teachers in a suburban setting. Each student teacher participated in three interviews and provided weekly journal entries via email during the 16-week semester. Brett's within-case analysis revealed the following themes: Selectively sharing personal information and coping with the cooperating teacher. Nicole's within-case analysis yielded the following themes: Cooperating teachers as role models and coming out to a student whom she knew to be a lesbian. Cross-case analysis illuminated the challenges that these student teachers faced, including the dilemma of being out, covering and being explicitly out, the influence of the cooperating teacher in their student-teaching experience, and the school environment. Discussion includes implications for music teacher education and future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-37
Number of pages19
JournalBulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Music


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